Sitting comfortably among the V100 law firms, McDermott is best known for its work in health care and tax—though its practices extend far beyond. The firm is forward thinking when it comes to wellness, offering lawyers billable credit for 25 wellness hours, and will appeal to those seeking a collegial, supportive environment.

Firm Stats


Total No. Attorneys (2022)

1K - 1.5K


No. of Partners Named (2021)



Featured Rankings

Vault Law 100


No. of 1st Year Associates Hired (2020)



No. of Summer Associates (2022)

91 total (80 2Ls; 11 1Ls)


Base Salary

Base Salary Year 1: $215,000

Vault Verdict

McDermott associates agree: it’s good to be at McDermott. Associates praise almost everything about the firm, from the hiring process all the way to partnership prospects. Firm culture is described as a perfect blend of great people and great work, a healthy dose of socializing mixed with a “chill” office vibe,generally down-to-earth attitudes, and a noticeable absence of ego and hierarchy even among partners. The almost 1:1 ratio of associates to partners greatly helps in building strong mutual relationships. The level of transparency from the top down is almost unheard of in BigLaw, thanks largely to the firm’s chairman, who hosts regular “town hall” meetings to keep associates apprised of the firm’s financials. Billables, bonus calculations, how the firm spends its money—little...

About the Firm

A Chicago institution since the 1930s, McDermott Will & Emery has, in recent decades, broadened its gaze to new markets in the United States and abroad. The strategy has paid off in spades, with McDermott firmly ensconced among the world’s largest and most elite law firms. 

A Windy Start

McDermott opened for business in 1934 as a tax firm run by Edward H. McDermott and William M. Emery. A mere seven years later, the third and final name partner was added in corporate specialist Howard A. Will. The firm’s name has remained the same ever since, a remarkable feat of continuity in the modern atmosphere of shortened firm names, legal mergers, and buyouts. McDermott added an Estate Planning division in 1941, and by 1944, the firm had burgeoned to 16 lawyers. Over the next half c...

Associate Reviews

  • “The firm has an incredible culture. I really believe it is second to none for a firm of its size, ranking, and level of work. Everyone is busy, but there is a very solid culture across the board. This is a collegial and friendly work environment that I do not hesitate to recommend to others. Day to day, you get to work very closely with smart people without egos on complex matters.”
  • “The team mentality at this firm is incredible. Everyone genuinely takes care of one another, which is nothing like what I expected for BigLaw. Throughout the pandemic, we had weekly virtual happy hours. Now we have in person happy hours a few times a month, and the partners bring in lunch for everyone (staff and attorneys) many times a month. One of my closest colleagues at the firm is a paralegal, so there is hardly any separation between associates and staff. Everyone is treated as integral.”
  • “The perfect blend of great people and high-level work; it is genuinely an unmatched formula. Here, lawyers socialize as much as we can, whether it's playing ping pong in the collaboration space or grabbing lunch. Lawyers and staff have great chemistry, and it's an office where all doors are open and everyone passes by with a wave.’
  • “I lateralled from another peer firm last year and it's like night and day. I can't believe a place like McDermott exists in BigLaw.”

Why Work Here

We don’t just invest in your future, we act as a career accelerant to propel you along your journey, wherever it may lead. And even as we celebrate hard work and excellence, we emphasize happiness—encouraging a rich, full life outside the office. It’s all part of our #AlwaysBetter mantra, as we strive to bring our best to our clients and each other every day.

Diversity at McDermott Will & Emery

"Since McDermott was established in 1934, we have been driven not only to give our clients excellent service but also to be citizens in our workplace and communities. Our lawyers have built upon this legacy in a number of ways, including efforts to ensure that diversity and inclusion are top priorities for the Firm. Over the last three decades, our Gender Diversity, Racial & Ethnic Diversity and LGBTQ Diversity Subcommittees have led the charge to recruit, retain, and develop diverse talent. In 2011, the three committees were..."

Getting Hired Here


  • “McDermott is looking for diverse candidates that not only have a strong resume, but fit into the culture. Candidates should not be too formal or serious, as this job can get tough sometimes and the best people to survive those tough times with are people you can be friends with.” 
  • “McDermott is rapidly expanding its base of associates across the country. It is recruiting from top tier law schools, but also expanding to more regional schools, which have plenty of wonderful candidates to offer as well.”
  • “I can't speak to others who are currently being recruited, but during my process, I felt that MWE was extremely focused on individuals with raw skills that they can hone. I didn't come from a top 10 law school and I didn't have ground-breaking grades. But I'm a grinder, and I felt that this was the quality MWE liked most in me.”
  • “The firm undergoes extensive interviewing. I believe I interviewed with about 15 different people before I was offered a position. They clearly take the time to make the right decision and want it to be the right fit for both the firm attorneys and for the applicant, which helps to build a long-lasting relationship with the firm.”

Practice Area Q&A’s

Kristian (Krist) A. Werling & Nora Klein

Partner & Associate—Corporate Advisory

McDermott Will & Emery

Arianne Plasencia & Meaghan Wolfe

Partner & Partner—Tax

McDermott Will & Emery

Michael J. Bruno & Katie Quinn

Partner & Partner

McDermott Will & Emery

Sandra M. DiVarco & Anisa Mohanty

Partner & Counsel

McDermott Will & Emery

Perks & Benefits